8 September 2020
John 5:14 NLT
But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.”
There is one key ingredient missing from the interaction between Jesus and the paralyzed man at the pool...
One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?” 7 “I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.” 8 Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” (See John 5:1-15)
Did you notice anything missing in this exchange? Jesus usually asks people what they want him to do, and then they tell him the obvious. This time Jesus states the obvious: Would you like to get well? Followed up is something else we haven’t encountered – a list of excuses in place of a dare to hope.
Jesus knows what this guy needs; the guy does not. This guy did not put his hope in Jesus at all. Instead, he makes excuses and tells Jesus why he isn’t healed. Jesus doesn’t let him complain for long and orders the man to stand up, and instantly the man does.
Furthermore, have we ever seen Jesus warn someone like this after he’s healed them? Jesus often gives instructions to those he’s healed but never such a dire warning as this guy gets. Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you. This guy got healed without the key ingredient – faith. He has to be told to stop sinning; his heart hasn’t changed, his faith is not in Jesus, and is still the self-professed victim of circumstance he was before he was healed. His encounter with Jesus was not one of faith, and he is still in danger of judgment.
And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
Faith is the key ingredient the man with the mat was missing. We can choose to keep believing in and clinging to our entitled excuses OR we can believe in God’s remedy for sin through faith in his Son, Jesus.
Thank you for including this warning about excuses in scripture. Excuses don’t change hearts, your forgiveness does. Thank you for the forgiveness and restoration available through Jesus, in whose name I pray, amen.